Krista M. Aronson

Professor of Psychology and Associate Dean of the Faculty



Pettengill Hall, Room 378

Dean of the Faculty's Office


Multicultural Children’s literature: My work focuses on illuminating how people come to understand complex social constructs like race and ethnicity, including how children process and understand race as well as appropriate, effective and productive ways to discuss this topic with them; specifically, the effective use of picture books to enhance intercultural relationships and self-understanding during childhood.

This work draws heavily on the Diverse Book Collection. Founded by myself in collaboration with Anne Sibley O’Brien, children’s book creator, and Brenna Callahan (’15), this circulating collection is comprised of fiction and narrative non-fiction picture books (grades K-3) depicting characters of color published in the United States between 2002-and the present. This is the only circulating collection of its kind.

Using the collection my collaborators, students and I contribute to the national dialogue about diverse children’s books, by moving the discussion beyond the number of diverse books published annually, to a more nuanced exploration of who (which racial/cultural groups) is represented, how (what themes predominate for each group), and what that communicates to children.

The Diverse BookFinder is a free, online searchable database of the collection. Supported by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services, this resource offers a comprehensive resource for parents, teachers, librarians, authors, and publishers interested in locating, exploring, understanding, and expanding titles featuring people of color.

Summary of Interests

  • Multicultural Children’s literature:
    • Representations of People of Color and Indigenous Populations
    • How Picture Books can be used to Facilitate Attitude Development/Change and Identity Development


  • Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2003
  • M.A. University of Michigan, 2000
  • B.A. Ithaca College, 1996

Courses Taught

  • PSYC 372 Racial and Ethnic Identity Development
  • PSYC 261 Research Methods
  • ED/PY 262 Community-based Research Methods
  • The Power of Picture Books

Diverse BookFinder Booklists, Webinars, and Media Coverage

More information

Diverse BookFinder Collection Analysis Tool

More Information

Selected Publications (including those under Scottham)

* indicates Bates student

Aronson, K.M., *Callahan, B.D., & O’Brien, A.S. (2018). Messages Matter: Investigating the thematic content of picture books portraying underrepresented racial and cultural groups. Sociological Forum, 33(1), upcoming accepted publication.

Aronson, K. M., Stefanile, C., Matera, C., Nerini, A., Grisolaghi, J., Romani, G., & …Brown, R. (2015). Telling tales in school: Extended contact interventions in the classroom. Journal Of Applied Social Psychology, doi:10.1111/jasp.12358

Aronson, K. M., & Brown, R. (2013). Acculturation and social attitudes among majority children. International Journal Of Intercultural Relations, 37(3), 313-322. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2013.02.004

*Kahn, N. F., & Aronson, K. M. (2012). Jewish American identity: Patterns of centrality and regard. Identity: An International Journal Of Theory And Research, 12(2), 185-190. doi:10.1080/15283488.2012.668729

Scottham, K., & *Dias, R. (2010). Acculturative strategies and the psychological adaptation of Brazilian migrants to Japan. Identity: An International Journal Of Theory And Research,10(4), 284-303. doi:10.1080/15283488.2010.523587

Scottham, K., Cooke, D., Sellers, R., & Ford, K. (2010). Integrating process with content in understanding African American racial identity development. Self and Identity9(1), 19-40. doi:10.1080/15298860802505384

Scottham, K., & Smalls, C. (2009). Unpacking racial socialization: Considering female African American primary caregivers’ racial identity. Journal of Marriage & the Family71(4), 807-818. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00636.x

Scottham, K., Sellers, R., & Nguyên, H. (2008). A measure of racial identity in African American adolescents: The development of the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity–Teen. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology14(4), 297-306. doi:10.1037/1099-9809.14.4.297

Seaton, E., Scottham, K., & Sellers, R. (2006). The Status Model of Racial Identity Development in African American Adolescents: Evidence of Structure, Trajectories, and Well-Being. Child Development77(5), 1416-1426. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2006.00944.x